HAVERHILL — The city could be in line to receive $1 million in federal funding to help pay for a major redesign of the dangerous intersection of Route 110 and Route 108 (Newton Road) near Winnekenni Park.
This intersection has been the site of numerous accidents in recent years and city officials say a redesign will improve sight lines for drivers, add dedicated vehicle turning lanes, improve the ability of trucks to turn safely and be safer for pedestrians to navigate.
Congresswoman Lori Trahan, D-Westford, hosted a roundtable briefing on Tuesday in Haverhill on federal investments recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to support projects focused on upgrading the city's infrastructure.
The bipartisan infrastructure package was passed by the Senate on Tuesday and now must go back to the House for amendments followed by conference talks with the Senate. Both bodies must approve the package before it can be sent to the president for his signature.
Trahan said that last month the House took up and passed the INVEST in America Act, an ambitious $715 billion infrastructure package she said contains transformational investments in America’s highways, roads, bridges, transit, rail, and water infrastructure that will help create jobs and combat the climate crisis.
During consideration of the legislation, Trahan secured more than $19 million in federal funding for specific infrastructure projects in the Third District, including multiple initiatives in Haverhill.
They include $1 million in directed discretionary funding to support intersection reconstruction on Route 108 (Newton Road) and Route 110 (Kenoza Avenue and Amesbury Road), $725,000 to support riverbank stabilization construction at the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) bus garage and administration building, and $375,000 for new MVRTA vans for elderly and those with disabilities in Haverhill.
MVRTA officials said the $2.1 million project is needed to stabilize a stretch of riverbank to prevent the building from collapsing into the river.
Trahan said the infrastructure funding will help communities across America become more competitive and able to attract private investments.
"It's going to help us win the 21st century," she said.
Mayor James Fiorentini told Trahan that the INVEST in America Act will help fix and improve infrastructure in Haverhill, but the city needs much more.
"If you want to know why this act is needed, you need only drive across the Basiliere Bridge, a state-owned bridge, and see the deteriorating condition," he said. "It is expected to cost about $55 million to fix that bridge and the city certainly does not have that. The state tells us, incredibly, that there are 200 bridges in Massachusetts that are in worse condition than this bridge."
In addition to the items Trahan discussed, the mayor said he hopes this bill will help the city pay for two major infrastructure projects on its agenda —building a new industrial park in the city and continuing to improve and grow the downtown.
Attending the meeting were Mayor James Fiorentini, State Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, state Reps Andy Vargas, D-Haverhill, Linda Dean Campbell, D-Methuen, Christina Minicucci, D-North Andover, and Lenny Mirra, R-Georgetown.
Also in attendance were MassDOT Highway Department Chief Engineer Carrie Lavalle, MVRTA Administrator Noah Berger, and Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Jerrard Whitten.